Who Makes What: ROADMs

In the past year or so, there’s been quite a lot of fuss over reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADMs), largely because several incumbent carriers appear to be interested in using them to upgrade their Sonet (Synchronous Optical NETwork) and SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) infrastructures.

As a result, Light Reading has written plenty of articles about requests for proposal (RFPs) for ROADMs and which vendors may be poised to win one of them and possibly notch up contracts worth tens of millions of dollars.

This report aims to put things into context, by explaining what ROADMs are, who makes them, and who makes the optical components used in their manufacture.

It takes the standard form of our “Who Makes What” articles; in other words, we’re providing a first stab at definitions and lists of suppliers and inviting readers to propose additions and modifications.

To start off with, let’s go back to basics. Reconfiguring a dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) network can take several weeks if done manually, and with networking requirements constantly changing, that's simply not good enough any more.

The solution could lie with ROADMs, equipment that allows network operators to remotely change which wavelengths are taken in and out of a particular optical switching node.

This technology could save carriers a pile of money by eliminating the dreaded "truck roll" and enabling them to turn on revenue generating services much faster.

The market for ROADM technology could be about to take off. In a recent study of 27 major telecom carriers, Infonetics Research Inc. found the majority of them (26 out of the 27) intend to deploy ROADM technology in the future. Some 25 percent of carriers in the study said they plan to deploy ROADM technology within the next 12 months.

The market for "systems sold with ROADM capability" is estimated to be worth around $85 million in 2004, according to Michael Howard, president of Infonetics, and principle author of the study.

Backing up Infonetics' findings, there are several prominent contracts up for grabs at the moment, including RFPs from AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T), SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

There has also been a spate of ROADM product announcements, including new products from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

"Every man and his dog is going to have a ROADM story soon," moans Rob Lane, VP of marketing and business development at ROADM startup Tropic Networks Inc. "Now that service providers have demonstrated that ROADM is real, everyone's rushing to catch up."

That's where this report comes in. It aims to help folk keep track of a rapidly developing market, by identifying all the manufacturers of ROADM equipment, as well as those that supply the enabling component technologies, such as wavelength blockers and tunable filters.

Click on the hyperlinks to go directly to the section of interest:

Your input

As with other Light Reading "Who Makes What" taxonomies already published (see Who Makes What: Optical Components 2004), this is just a starting point. We now need you to dive in and suggest additions, corrections, and revisions to this report, which is a living document. We'll update it regularly to reflect your input.

To make suggestions, we'd prefer you use the message board, so that everyone can participate in discussions. However, if you prefer to keep your communications private, please send them to [email protected] and include "Who Makes What" and your company name in the subject field.

Feel free to go beyond pointing to company names we may have mistakenly omitted. We're also interested in suggestions for further product categories and refinements to the category structure.

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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bw 12/5/2012 | 1:25:00 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs Pauline:
How can a R-OADM work without tunable laser? I think you should really take another look at the tunable laser vendors and make accessment, and may be make some calls on who mis best positioned in this development.

own_your_own_net 12/5/2012 | 1:24:54 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs Celion has had DWDM systems with ROADM technology for over 2.5 years.
Balet 12/5/2012 | 1:24:51 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs Peter,

I have not seen a single OEM system house building ROADM who has seen a working Avanex' blocker.
I believe I've talked to 90% of those houses in the past.
Even Alcatel, who had been forced into this relationship could not use the A's blockers.
Peter Heywood 12/5/2012 | 1:24:51 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs to wavelength blockers

Balet 12/5/2012 | 1:24:50 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs Why don't you ask them?:)
deer_in_the_light 12/5/2012 | 1:24:50 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs Who is supplying to Alcatel ?
Balet 12/5/2012 | 1:24:50 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs One the list of wavelength blocker suppliers:
- One of them delivers the worst WB at the highest price, but people are stuck with them.
- Another one has a good product, but they can not scale up manufacturing of them as well as their primary product. Inspite of a poor technical lead they got a great S&M CEO
- Everyone else does not have a commercial WB
- I would add Coadna to the list
Peter Heywood 12/5/2012 | 1:24:44 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs What do other folk think about Celion?

It's positioned its products in the enterprise market, not the service provider market, so I'm not sure whether to include it.

Peter Heywood 12/5/2012 | 1:24:44 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs I've added OpVista to the list of ROADM vendors. It's a bit of an odd-ball in 2 respects:

- It targets cable operators
- The technology is different, but the end result is near enough the same; remotely reconfigurable add-drop functionality
vrparente 12/5/2012 | 1:24:42 AM
re: Who Makes What: ROADMs Don't know anything about Celion.

But that's what was said about Ethernet for years(that it was for the enterprise market and would have no relevance for carriers).

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